For as long as I can remember, one of my greatest fears has been spiders. Specifically the large, hairy ones that lurk in the dark corners of rooms and closets, and creep around the bedroom at night while you are sleeping. Unfortunately for me, I think this fear may be genetic, considering my mom has the same one. Because of that, and the fact that my dad no longer lives with us, I am pretty much the designated spider killer in our house. The first real traumatic experience for me happened about two years ago.
We had just moved into our new house, so everything was still being unpacked and moved around. I had school the next day, and I was just brushing my teeth and taking my contacts out before bed. I was doing this in the cramped basement bathroom, of course, because my room is down there. Yes, the girl with arachnophobia sleeps in the basement... So, while I brushed my teeth, I had set my contact case on the toilet seat which is next to the shower. As I reached for it, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. I glanced up, expecting to see nothing, but instead came face to face with one of the biggest and hairiest spiders I had ever seen. I jumped back so far I hit my head on the wall behind me.
"Mom!" I screamed, in the hopes that she would come to the rescue all the while not taking my eyes off of the nightmare in front of me. "What do you want?" she asked, when she finally made her way downstairs. In answer, I gestured toward the arachnid across the room. "Kill it! Kill it!" my mom screamed upon seeing it. Then she ran out of the room. She was abandoning me! My body was paralyzed. I was frozen to the spot, the adrenaline coursing through my veins. When suddenly the door opened again, and my mom threw a shoe at me. Too surprised to actually catch it, it hit me in the stomach and landed in the ground in front of me. After staring blankly at it for a bit, I quickly picked it up as it was my only defense against the creature watching me from across the room. It hadn't moved once since I first saw it. "How do I kill it with this? It's on the shower curtain! If I hit it, it's just gonna drop to the floor, and escape!" and I did not want that thing escaping. "We'll have to slide the curtain over so that the wall is behind it instead," she replied. I had forgotten that the entrance to the shower only took up half of the wall, and the curtain was still able to slide over to the other half. This meant that I would have to get close and personal with my greatest fear in order to kill it. Of course there was also the fear of it jumping out at me, which it definitely had the power to do.
So, I gathered up all of my courage, and using my adrenaline to my advantage, I reached my hand forward. As slowly as I possibly could, so as not to startle it, I started sliding the curtain over centimeter by centimeter. I never took my eyes off the spider that was hanging at about chest height, watching me. Suddenly It bolted, heading down. I quickly let go of the curtain that I was grasping so tightly that my knuckles were turning white, and jumped back, afraid it would come at me. My heart was pumping so hard and fast, that if you looked at my chest, you would probably see it jumping out with every beat like a cartoon. I could feel blood pulsing through every vein in my body. I could hardly breath, it was like the arteries in my neck were squeezing my windpipe. My mom and I bolted down the hallway and into the downstairs living room, faces flushed from the exhilaration.
After my breathing became easier, I looked over at my mom and we began laughing hysterically. The whole thing seemed so silly once you put it into perspective, but at the time, I was pretty sure I was about to die. My body literally went into panic mode. I decided to let myself calm down a bit more before I went back in to look for the spider again. In the meantime, my mom and I armed ourselves by putting shoes on our feet, as well as grabbing two extra shoes each to put over our hands. Once locked and loaded, we reentered the war zone. We were very careful to scan the area surrounding us before taking our first steps. When we were completely in the room, we shut the door behind us, and looked across the cramped room.
There it was, staring back at us, still resting on the curtain. It must have moved around a bit more while we were out because it was now located exactly where it needed to be for us to be able to hit it. I slowly began walking toward it, step by step. Time seemed to stand still. Finally, I raised the shoe up to about chest height , and took aim. I was one step away from slamming my shoe against the wall, and the creature on top of it, when suddenly I froze. I couldn't move a muscle no matter how hard I tried. My mom was shouting for me to do it, but it was like I had turned to stone. Having seen this, my mom gave me a little nudge in the right direction, and I mean that literally. She pushed me. I screamed at the top of my lungs, and clenching my hand into a fist on the inside of the shoe, I punched as hard as I could and held it there. I then proceeded to twist the shoe around, just to be sure it was dead.
I had done it, I had faced my fear, and I had won. I went to bed that night feeling satisfied and slightly paranoid... Who am I kidding? I got zero sleep that night. After that traumatizing experience, we invested in getting the house sprayed for bugs, and needless to say, spiders became scarce. However, that does not mean they were nonexistent. I still somehow managed to run into them from time to time. Courage isn't having no fears, it's facing the ones you have head on and beating them.